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Linn State College Drops Fee Per Governor’s Request

The state of Missouri has had their fair share of budget woes but Governor Jay Nixon reached a deal earlier in the year with state colleges that promised education funding reductions to be no more than 5.2% if the colleges agreed to freeze tuition. Everyone seemed to be “ok” with this arrangement and moved forward with business as usual. However, Linn State Technical College took the gray area of the agreement and bended it to their favor by charging students an additional $3 dollars per credit hour for courses taken at the college.

University Officials at Linn State say they were technically abiding by the agreement because their increase was in the form of a fee and not tuition.

“It never was a tuition increase; it was a fee increase,” said John Nilges, the college’s vice president for administration and finance. “It’s a very complex misunderstanding in terms of the agreement versus the Department of Higher Education versus the institutions.”

After the dust has settled and all the calls from the Governor’s office have been appropriately responded to, Linn State has properly made the decision to rescind the $3 fee increase and abide by the original intent of the tuition freeze agreement.

Dr. Debbie Below is the Asst. Vice-President for Enrollment Management at Southeast Missouri State University and she states, “Students and families have expressed a feeling of relief as a result of this decision. Families do seem to be more conscious of the overall cost of education and they seem more likely to select a college based on the family’s ability to finance the education. I am hopeful that this means fewer students will find themselves borrowing excessively to finance the cost of college.”

The educational piece (lesson) that I want our readers at to take from this is that there is a distinct difference in the eyes of many colleges between fees and tuition. A college or university may promise a tuition freeze or a specific percentage increase in tuition but could adjust their “fees” arbitrarily to help with budgetary needs (This was the approach taken by Linn State). So, it is important that you factor in all the costs so that you are always working with a bottom line and know exactly how an increase in tuition (or fees) is going to impact what you pay from year to year.

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